Municipality slams BBC demolition report

Show's reporter claimed Jerusalem Municipality has "special budget" for demolishing illegal homes.

"The amount of demolitions carried out by theJerusalem Municipality every year is determined solely by the number ofillegally constructed buildings erected by those residents who floutedthe law," the Jerusalem Municipality said Thursday afternoon inresponse to a show aired on the BBC news network which claimed themunicipality allocates a special budget for house demolitions.

Inthe show, aired on Monday, BBC's Jane Corbin claimed that "Demolitionshave been increasing in recent days, and in fact, we've got hold of alist that shows there's another 40 to go before the end of the year.That's because the municipal government has a budget that it has to useup for demolitions."

The municipality said in a statement the number of demolitionsconducted in eastern Jerusalem actually decreased in 2009 - from 86 in2008 to 65 in 2009, a 25% decrease.

It said also that there was simply no connection between theannual budget of the municipality and the number of demolitionsconducted.

The municipality called Corbin's report "completely and utterly false" and a "distasteful distortion of reality."

The municipality also expressed doubt whether the reporterreally had in her possession a list of planned house demolitions,saying "it would be prudent to ask Ms. Corbin what happened to heralleged list of 40 planned demolitions since her filming in late 2009.You'll easily find yet another one of her distasteful distortions."